Leprosy Program

LAMP’s Action for Comprehensive Development and Rehabilitation of Leprosy-sufferers

The Liberal Association for Movement of People ( LAMP ) has been working since 1978 for eradication of leprosy and socio-economic rehabilitation of the patients suffering from the disease and those who have been cured. The General Secretary of LAMP , Shri Malay Dewanji in a study circle of the activists belonging to the Leprosy Eradication Task Force of LAMP held recently in Calcutta has remarked – “Although it is a very ordinary disease to be wiped out through the application of science, owing to various social and economic reasons as well as political indifferenced the leprosy-patients in India today are the most neglected, oppressed and persecuted people”. In fact, leprosy has totally been eradicated from Germany and other European countries. But in India there are 5 million people suffering from leprosy of these about 0.35 million ( 3.5 lakh) live inWest Bengal, 99% of whom live below the poverty line and are totally dependent on beggary to maintain their livelihood. In order to tackle the terrible social realities relating to this disease LAMP bears the spirit of serving the suffering humanity as well as providing care and love for them.

Health Check-up programme of the leprosy-sufferers at Barakar Colony, Burdwan

LAMP has claim of a long glorious history of movement for realising the legal and human rights of the oppressed not only in ideals, but also in action. In 1988 a sit-in demonstration of about 500 leprosy-patients from Burdwan, Hooghly, Howrah, Midnapore and 24 Parganas was held in Esplanade East and a 18-day long relay hunger-strike took place from February, 18 to March, 4 under the leadership of Shri Malay Dewanji on the issue of rehabilitation of the displaced lepers of the Katherdanga Leprosy colony of Durgapur, who had been living there for over 40 years. The strike moved the authority and Shri Asim Dasgupta, Finance Mnister, Govt. of West Bengal came in person to assure the demonstration about their dwellings. In 1990 , the promise turned into reality as the Govt. of West Bengal sanctioned 7 acres of land in Katherdanga, Durgapur and 85 brick houses and 20 latrines were handed over to the lepers through Burdwan Zilla Parishad in the newly set-up Mohandas Karamchand Pally, Gopinathpur, Durgapur under Durgapur Municipal Corporation Authority.

Brick houses and sanitary latrines were distributed also in Ranigaunge, Jamuria, Kankardanga, Lachipur, and Rahamatdanga colonies as a result of the movements of LAMP to provide shelter to the leprosy-sufferer persons.

As a result of these movements and subsequent motivational programmes organsied by LAMP in different districts, the leprosy-sufferers have become aware of their problems and organised themselves under a central co-ordination body named ” Kustha Swadhikar Raksha Committee ” (the committee for the protection of the rights of the leprosy-patients) on 24th April, 1988. This committee is presently organizing struggles to find solutions of the problems faced by the leprosy-sufferers. Much is expected from this committee in achieving the desired objectives in future.

The most problematic area in rehabilitation of the leprosy-cured persons is to give them economic and social identity. As LAMP observes : socio-economical integration of the unfortunate leprosy sufferers with the mainstream of the society is equally important as their treatment. With this objective, LAMP has adopted a multipurpose programme of action under which a technical training school and two homes will be set up in Assansol-Durgapur area, of which one home will be for the leprosy-cured but physically challenged persons and the other for the children of leprosy-sufferers .

In order to achieve the goal of assuring the leprosy-sufferers of their human rights LAMP is eager to cooperate with the government and non-government organisations those who stand by the side of these persecuted people. The present involvement of LAMP with the leprosy-sufferers is undertaken in collaboration with the grass-root level leprosy-patients’ organisations in different colonies and their apex coordinating bodies. Contacts are established with the communities of the poor leprosy-sufferers through their community organisations who while staying with the leprosy-sufferers stimulate them to form local organisations to discuss and analyse the problems of the leprosy-sufferers and to work out a common plan of action by themselves.

Ulcer dressing of leprosy-sufferers at Chanda Colony, Burdwan, West Bengal
LAMP is serving at present in 9 leprosy colonies in West Bengal covering 429 families consisting of 1506 members. Here we give an account of these colonies and the number of the beneficiaries covered by them :-
Sr. No. Name and Address of the Colonies No. of Families No. of Members
1. Swami Vivekananda Pally, Sahebgunj, Ranigunj (under Ranigunj Municipality ), Burdwan. 34 48
2. Netaji Pally, Jamuria (under Jamuria Municipality ), Burdwan. 42 126
3. Baba Tarakeswar Colony, Chanda (under Jamuria Municipality ), Burdwan. 12 54
4. Rahamatdanga Colony (under Assansol Municipal Corporation), Burdwan 71 189
5. Mohandas Karamchand Pally, Gopinathpur, Durgapur (under Durgapur Notified Area Authority), Burdwan 13 252
6. Mahatma Gandhi pally, Luchipur (under Kulti Municipality ), Burdwan 50 162
7. Barakar Colony (under Kulti Municipality )BDN. 17 63
8. Kankardanga Colony, Hirapur, Burnpur (under Asansol Municipal Corporation)Burdwan 60 162
9. Gandhigram Colony, Durgapur City Centre (under Durgapur Notified Area Authority). 130 450
Total 429 1506

A glance at the number of leprosy patients benefited directly or indirectly by various programme taken up by LAMP :

Non-Formal Education 261 children. .
Technical Training & Self-employment 54 cured persons.
Medical Treatment 603
Animal Husbandry, rickshaw-pulling and other income 72 families.
Generation opportunities
Vegetable Gardening 45 families
Health Check-up facility All the inhabitants of the colonies.
Awareness Camp All the inhabitants of the colonies and about 50,000 people of the surrounding areas.
LAMP’s activities among the leprosy-sufferers are as follows:
  • Non-formal Education;
  • Vocational Training and Self-employment;
  • Animal Husbandry;
  • Plantation and Kitchen Gardening;
  • Medical Treatment;
  • Health Check-up;
  • Health education;
  • Rehabilitation;
  • Awareness Generation Camps;
  • Recreational/Cultural Pursuits;
  • All-round community Development.

Ulcer patients are being treated by trained Dressers appointed by LAMP in each colony from amongst the inmates. LAMP provides for their monthly honorarium, medicine, bandage, gauze, cotton etc. each month, conducts smear tests every third year. Cases found positive are sent/referred to hospitals of Assansol Mines Board of Health, Kustha Nivaran Kendra, Gouripur, Bankura, Santinagar of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, Leprosy Dept. of Durgapur Sub-Division Hospital.

Through movements special G.R. supplies (12 kgs of wheat per month per head) have been achieved for the colony people. Despite sustained awareness generation campaigns in and arround the colonies the social stigma continues and leprosy-sufferers live in seclusion. They live mainly on begging, only some do other jobs, while many children work as rag pickers. Their mental make-up is yet to be changed within such socio-economic conditions.